Making Friends:

Crystal Russell of Chelsea, Vermont

Written by Julie Wardell

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    Eleven-year-old Crystal has had some very special spiritual experiences. Just before she was to be baptized, her father, Michael, was converted to the Church. So she and her father were baptized and confirmed by the missionaries on the same day!

    On August 15, 1991, another important experience happened. Crystal; her sister, Dawn; her mother, Melodie; and her father were sealed together as an eternal family in the temple. They had traveled eleven hours by bus with twenty-nine other members of their South Royalton Ward to the Toronto Ontario Temple. Mother said, “The ward gave us so much support that it seems like a big family now.” Both girls remember seeing only individual reflections of themselves in the mirrors when they first entered the sealing room, but after they were sealed to their parents, they saw a reflection of their entire family going on forever. Later that night, Crystal had a dream that assured her that Heavenly Father loved her and would never leave her.

    Crystal and her family travel about fourteen miles to Sharon, Vermont, to attend the South Royalton Ward. It’s a special place because right next to their picturesque meetinghouse is the Joseph Smith Memorial, which honors Joseph Smith’s birthplace and his life.

    Crystal is a Merrie Miss in Primary, and she enjoys talking about the gospel. Her foster sister, Sherice Albrecht (10), attends the Valiant class. Sherice loves to sing in Primary and often enters a room singing. Mother teaches the Sunbeam class and also teaches Seminary during the week after school. Father is the elder’s quorum president. Dawn is a Laurel in Young Women; she serves as the assistant ward librarian and helps with the ward bulletins and newsletters.

    An active girl, Crystal enjoys cheerleading, rollerskating, soccer, and baseball. She loves to read nonfiction books, and math and science are her favorite classes at school. She can play the flute, and she likes to sing in chorus at school. Someday she would like to work with computers or be a police officer.

    Cleaning her room and one of the parakeet cages are two of Crystal’s responsibilities. Other duties that she shares with her sisters are listed on a job chart, which includes doing dishes, doing the laundry, and dusting.

    In the summer, the family has fun vacationing, spending time at Fairlee Lake, or just taking a summer walk in the beautiful town of Chelsea. Crystal especially likes to walk up the hill behind her house and sit on her favorite rock, which is shaped like a saddle. She can look out and see her school and the town as well as the beautiful lush scenery.

    In the winter, Mother and Father like to hibernate in the 150-year-old house that they are restoring. But Crystal and her sisters enjoy sledding in their backyard, ice skating in town, and participating in Friday-night sleep overs. Making snow sculptures can be fun too. One time, instead of making a snowman, Father, Dawn, and Crystal made a pink snow bunny with Easter eggs! Many people drove by to see it.

    Crystal loves her family very much. She is grateful that they are members of the Church and have been able to enjoy the many blessings of the gospel.

    Photographed by Julie Wardell

    1 Crystal

    2 Dawn, Crystal, and Sherice crossing an old covered bridge in the nearby town of Tunbridge

    3 Shopping at the general store in Tunbridge, where Joseph Smith, Sr., and Lucy Mack Smith first met

    4 The Russell family

    5 Crystal and Sherice riding bikes

    6 Sitting on her favorite rock

    7 The Joseph Smith Memorial, dedicated in 1905

    8 South Royalton Ward meetinghouse in Sharon, Vermont

    9 The magnificent view from Crystal’s favorite rock